Feisol CT-3372 - Review
For the past month I've been happily testing out the Feisol CT-3372 carbon-fiber tripod. I want to start by saying that this review may come across as a one sided advertisement, but it isn't, I truly just love this tripod. From the moment I received it in the mail, I knew it was going to be a long and enjoyable relationship. In fact, my first impressions were so positive, I immediately threw away the packaging.
The CT-3372 is one of Feisol's flagship tripods from their 'Elite' range and once you get one in your hands, it isn't hard to see why.
The Feisol CT-3372 is available from the US at the fairly reasonable price of $548 USD. It's available for purchase directly through Feisol from the website: feisol.net or from stockists such as bhphotovideo.com. Unfortunately, there is no where in Australia that stocks Feisol products. When compared to tripods of the same specs, this price is absolutely justifiable and in my eyes, a bargain.
A few Important Specs:
30kg load capacity
1.74kg total weight (3.84 pounds)
Maximum height of 148cm (more with optional centre column)
63cm folded (closed) length
3 leg sections
When I first removed the tripod from the packaging, I couldn't help but smile. Coming from a cheap, aluminium tripod such as the Manfrotto 055XPROB, this was more than just a step up in quality, it was in a completely different league. Don't get me wrong, the Manfrotto tripod was great while it lasted and served as a perfect entry level tripod, but I have since outgrown it and Feisol appeared to be my next logical move.
I didn't make my decision hastily, I spent the better part of a month researching tripods, trying to figure out what best served my needs as a landscape photographer. Sure, theres the likes of Really Right Stuff who are said to be one of the best tripod manufacturers around, but I was not in the position to spend close to $2,000 on a tripod and ballhead combination. I'd read many forums online about tripods that compare to the RRS range - Gitzo, Induro, Sirui and, of course, Feisol were the names I'd heard being thrown around. After further research it seemed that Feisol matched almost exactly what I was looking for in a tripod. And the rest was history.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
Like I said earlier, the first thing I did when I removed the tripod from it's box, was smile. Not only because I was now the proud owner of such a well respected tripod but also because holding this thing in your hands for only a few seconds, you can really tell just how well it's built.
Being almost entirely made from carbon-fiber, this tripod weighs a mere 1.74kg. To put that into perspective, my previous tripod was over 70% heavier. It had the same amount of leg sections, a similar folded length and it even extended to about the same height, but because of it's aluminium construction; weighed an extra 660g. Now that mightn't seem like a huge difference in weight, but you have to consider that this tripod has much thicker legs and is rated to double the capacity (12kg load) of my previous tripod. It's a beast, to say the least.
One of the things I really disliked about my old tripod was the fact that it used lever-lock leg locks which I found to be quite disruptive. That may sound odd, and it may just be a personal preference thing, but since I've used the twist-locks on the CT-3372, I can't see myself ever going back to the 'lever-lock' system. Twist-locks are much smoother to operate and seem to have far less discrepencies with sand/salt/dirt, at least in this stage of my testing.
Each and every twist-lock or leg release lever on this tripod feels just like you would hope. They are smooth to operate and have the perfect amount of tension straight out of the box - though, they can be tightened to preference. This tripod is also fitted with a sturdy weight hook on the base of the apex for convenient weight/backpack hanging. This will add to the overall stability of the tripod, helping to prevent any potential mishaps caused by wind.
One of the most important factors when choosing any tripod should be stability, after all, that is a tripods main purpose. There was one particular moment in time that made me realise I needed a sturdier tripod. That moment was when I climbed to the summit of Mt Amos in Tasmania. Because it was so ridiculously windy up there I really struggled to get a shot that had no motion blur. Even shooting at 14mm with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second there was noticeable camera shake. Since getting the CT-3372, I have noticed a very significant improvement with shake and vibration caused by strong winds.
Things I love:
It's so light for it's beastly proportions.
Incredibly strong and stable.
Reduces vibration caused by wind and shutter significantly.
Easily dismantled for cleaning.
Clean and professional aesthetics.
Things I don't love:
Scratches easily from sand. Though, I think that is the same for all carbon-fiber tripods, so I can't really complain.
Not directly available in Australia... yet.
After reading this review I'm sure it's no surprise that I love this tripod. A tripod is probably the most important piece of equipment in a landscape photographer't kit, so it's best not to cheap out, because you WILL notice a difference. Sure, there are probably tripods that are marginally better than this, but you need ask yourself if they are $1000+ better?
As usual, if you have any questions about this tripod, or other recommendations, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below! I love responding to your questions and comments!